Being one together

29 May 2015

"HE IS just like the pictures of him in the papers - outgoing, friendly, and very humble," Bishop John Flack, currently Assistant Bishop in Peterborough diocese and formerly director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, said. He was speaking of the meeting that he and the Bishop of Brixworth, the Rt Revd John Holbrook, had had with the Pope during their three-day visit to Rome.

Their purpose was to visit the Anglican Centre in the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, where Bishop Flack had had an apartment; but they also attended an audience with the Pope in St Peter's Square.

There must have been about 80,000 people there, Bishop Holbrook says. "As we were led through the centre of the crowd by the Swiss Guards, we were constantly being asked to smile for photos, although I suspect few, if any, of the photographers had any idea who we were."

They had brought greetings from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, to Pope Francis, and spoke to him in Italian and English.

While in Rome, Bishop Holbrook also made a special pilgrimage to the Colosseum, where so many early Christians had died for their faith. It was particularly poignant, he said, remembering how dangerous it was to be a Christian today in the Middle East, North Korea, and parts of Africa.

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